ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): The Republic of Korea is keen to further enhance cooperation with Pakistan in hydro-power generation, infrastructure development and other sectors as Pakistan is a rising economy having good potential for foreign investors.
This was said by Suh Dong-gu, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here Friday.
He said, some Korean companies have already completed 2-3 hydro-power projects and were constructing few more such projects in Pakistan.
He said that Korean companies were also cooperating with Pakistan in infrastructure development including Lowari Tunnel which would be completed by the mid of next year.
He said that Pakistan and Republic of Korea were negotiating for a free trade agreement.
Feasibility studies have been completed and both countries were now preparing its recommendations.
He said, signing of FTA would make a paradigm shift in bilateral trade and would provide better market access to Pakistani products in Korean market.
He said, for the last few years, Pakistani exports to Republic of Korea were on the decline and stressed that Pakistan should focus on value added products to improve trade with his country.
He said that Korea could cooperate with Pakistan in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects by providing heavy construction equipment and machinery.
Welcoming the South Korean envoy, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, ICCI said, the bilateral trade of around $1.2 billion between Pakistan and Republic of Korea was dismal and stressed that both countries give enhanced role to private sectors for improving it.
He said, trade balance was heavily tilted in favor of Korea and urged that Korea should provide easy market access to Pakistani products for better trade balance.
He said that Korea’s annual imports were around $500 billion with 60% raw materials, 30% plants and machinery and 10% customers’ goods like fruits, automobiles, textile and clothing.
Pakistan, he said, has the potential to meet Korea’s needs for raw materials, fruits, textiles and garment products, however, its stringent Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) measures were major trade barriers for Pakistan.
He stressed that Korea should reconsider its stringent SPS measures to facilitate entry of Pakistani products especially, agro products, fresh fruits and rice.
He said, several major Korean companies were doing successful business in Pakistan and more should come to invest in energy, chemical, infrastructure development and other sectors.
He said value added sea food, fish processing and packaging were other potential areas for Korean investors in Pakistan.
He said Korean investors should explore possibilities of investment and joint ventures in CPEC projects.
He said being an advanced economy, Korea should help Pakistan in modernizing its economy by transferring technology, knowledge sharing and capacity building.
Khalid Iqbal Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Khalid Chaudhry, Zikria A. Zia and others also discussed various options with Korean Envoy for improving bilateral trade between the two countries.